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In the Shadow of David’s Brutus

Kevin Chua
Representations
Vol. 121, No. 1 (Winter 2013), pp. 107-139
DOI: 10.1525/rep.2013.121.1.107
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/rep.2013.121.1.107
Page Count: 33
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In the Shadow of David’s Brutus
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Abstract

This essay rereads Jacques-Louis David’s The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons (1789)—long interpreted in terms of revolutionary virtue—in the light of Carl Schmitt’s theories of political foundation and sovereignty. By recovering the early complexity of the figure of Brutus, the essay shows how David’s painting anticipated the constitutional debates of September 1789.

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